Ask anyone at AppIt Ventures, and we’ll tell you that we love the city of Denver, CO – not only as an amazing place to live, but also as a great place to start and grow a thriving business. You’ll find substantial support and so many helpful resources here you’ll have everything you need to succeed. Here are just a few examples:
Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock is a major supporter of the startup community. He recently launched an economic-development plan that focuses on supporting small business through strategies that address business retention, small business advocacy, business lending, and more. Additionally, Mayor Hancock recently stated that he wants to help Denver become “the small-business capital of the world.” He also spearheaded the initiative to start the annual OED JumpStart Biz Plan Competition – which is another great opportunity for startups in Denver (we won this competition in November 2012, which came with a $50,000 cash prize and pro bono services from several local professionals).
The Denver SBDC offers workshops, speaking events, free business listings, general small business resources, connections, and so much more. We’ve had the pleasure of working with Alea Kilgore and she has been immensely helpful in developing strategies to promote our products and services.
There are several fantastic startup incubators and small business hubs around Denver including Galvanize (we love them!) and Uncubed. These organizations offer a great place to work, access to invaluable resources, connections, and support from other entrepreneurs.
Speaking of other entrepreneurs, there are so many other successful business owners (Brad Feld & Jim Deters to name a couple) in the area that you can build an awesome support network quite easily. If you don’t know where to start, consider attending one of the dozens of entrepreneurial and startup-focused networking events that take place in Denver every month (check out Boulder/Denver New Tech and Meetup.com as excellent starting points). There are also major events like Denver Startup Week, which is an entrepreneur’s dream week with over 80 fantastic startup events, including a VC/Angel Pitch Workshop, Bootstrap vs. Funding, Marketing for Startups, and many more!
The numbers speak for themselves, too. Nerdwallet.com did a study that evaluated different characteristics of a city that make it ideal for women entrepreneurs (although they could largely apply to all types of entrepreneurs). Some of the questions they analyzed: Is the city an entrepreneurial one? Does the city have a thriving economy? Also, is it a highly educated city? When the results were tallied, Denver scored 9th place out of the 50 most populous U.S. cities.
The funding opportunities are great too, particularly for tech startups: Denver and Boulder were recently ranked 14th and 15th in a national list of Top 15 Cities for Tech Startup Investments. Among Colorado’s active investment groups are Accredited Members, Inc., the Foundry Group, and Rockies Venture Club, to name a few.
You don’t have to take our word for it – Inc.com will tell you five reasons Denver is hot for startups, too. They list reasons I’ve mentioned, as well as other great points like Denver’s exceptional quality of life and awesome mentors such as TechStars and SCORE Denver.
Clearly, Denver deserves its growing reputation as “the small business capital of the world.” It just so happens that Under30CEO.com is currently running a poll to determine the top cities for young entrepreneurs – why don’t you check it out and vote for Denver right now? When you’re done, let us know why you think Denver should win in the comments below!